Remember, a “Force Multiplier Strategy” is a component using five or more attributes, advantages or opportunities, exponentially increasing overall effectiveness in a united strategic effort. How is Social Media Optimization a Force Multiplier? When studying the components for building relationships in view of a marketing strategy, the five outstanding opportunities for overtaking a niche market are found in Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Tie in to these Blog entries and articles to be submitted and even syndicated across thousands of sites and you have an unstoppable powerhouse. With scores and scores of other social media sites that will get on board, there is ample reason to see how Social Media is a Relationship Marketing Force Multiplier. If necessary, go back and read about the Force Multiplier on Home page and discover the exponential power developed when three Force Multipliers are overlapped. It is The Acceleration of Acceleration that Buckminster Fuller wrote of in the 1960’s. How is Social Media catching on in general? Consider a story from Business Week, September, 2009 Motivational speaker Tony Robbins, aka Mr. Positive Thinking was skeptical at first. He says he wasn’t sure he had time to use Twitter when he first heard about the popular social networking site.

“Why would I want to read something someone else is doing?” Robins asked. Like many people, he says he feels somewhat overwhelmed with the volume of information already bombarding him. “Remember when people said technology would give you free time?” Then a year ago Robbins was visiting with a friend in the technology business. The friend quickly sent a message out to his Twitter network that he was sitting with Robbins. Within minutes 75 people from as far away as Europe and Australia had responded with questions for the guru. Robbins had a breakthrough moment. “This is what I live for,” he recalls. “I have a mission. I want to touch people. I want to use every medium I can.” He now has more than 1 Million followers. Of the information overload, he says: “They can pick and choose what they like.” So where is it all going? Social media strategists are saying they cannot predict how much technology will advance in 2010.  No one knows how the transition of marketing, from 1900’s practices, will continue to evolve into 21 Century, technology driven marketing systems.

smr

However, there are implications as to what will certainly continue in rapid development this next year. Companies, large and small, are realizing the impact social media is having on the marketing of services and goods. Branded companies, like Kellogg’s and Toyota are coming up to speed, causing others to listen to social media chatter as well. The momentum is already in play that suggests the following:

 1. Social media marketing is advancing to front and center. Major brands, who have been slow to embrace the social media medium, will understand that building a brand page on Facebook and hoping “they will come” isn’t sufficient. We are watching companies starting to put forth the effort to develop a sound strategy, make a scheduled commitment to be involved, and a willingness to learn and keep pace with this medium. With so many brands still not fully engaged, this will be an exciting year to see who will strike their claim on this developing goldmine. As leading companies like Abercrombie and Fitch, Coke and Sony hire heads of social media, others will realize that this is no longer a novelty; it’s serious business. The question is who will provide the leading brand? It is now a question of the marketing medium more the size of the company budget. More and more evidence is surfacing that businesses who haven’t adopted a Social Media Marketing plan will soon become extinct using the dinosaur marketing plan of the 1900’s.

2. Social media is requiring a facelift in the marketing message. The massive amount of information has caused an information overload shifting us into the age of recommendation. Today, people no longer ask where they can get needed information but rather are asking, “Who or what will my friends recommend?” which is advancing the “KLT Principle” into the front line of 21st Century Marketing. Instead of going to Google and doing a search, communities are starting to use social media like Twitter, Facebook and Linked In to find suggestions on local goods, services and business opportunities. Customer and client reviews will become more and more a vital part of this new facelift, especially reviews from those community leaders’ that people know, like and trust. (KLT)

3. Geo-targeted social networking is here to stay. More consumers will be searching for local services on line which will create strong communities of recommendations. People are using Smartphone applications to text who they are with and where they are for the present. Branded marketers will develop a plan for getting their message to them. Local bars, salons and restaurants have been the main advertisers reaching this market. However, opportunities aren’t limited to food, beverage and hair. For example, luxury retailers and real estate brokers could target consumers inviting them to use discounts, enter a contest or contract for their services.

4. A pioneering, social media budget is important. Entrepreneurs have always taken risks but never have the efforts and investments been as rewarding as it is today. Can you predict the next viral Twitter topic? No, you can’t, but you do have an opportunity to be a pioneer and to be a part of it when it happens, as it happens! Creating a pioneering media budget will give your branded company the flexibility to participate in communities and embrace technological platforms before your competitors do. It isn’t about getting there as much as getting there before your competition does!

 

 

5. The virtual world will become one with the physical world. Just like the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers merge running distinctively separate for miles and eventually  become one, so will  the virtualization of our lives and businesses. We use GPA on our phone instead of a map and Twitter search instead of a phone book. Digital technology enables consumers to understand the world around them as well as field specialists. These advancements are accelerated by Smartphone usage which accesses information in real time. More companies are using simulations and augmented reality to provide users branded text overlays and 3-D virtual demos on their phone viewfinder creating greater user friendliness.

6. Social sourcing will turn social media into a direct sale outlet. Social media is typically thought of as a vehicle for relationship marketing, but there are opportunities for direct sales also. Best Buy is an example as they sourced their social following on opening day for the movie “New Moon” by asking its Facebook fans what their favorite Thriller films and books were. Then they put 50 of those items on sale in their virtual store at BestBuy.com. Fans were excited that Best Buy listened to them and they readily purchased the products.

7. The creation of Branded Video Channels will replace TV commercial time. Business owners and company marketers know how to present their business better than anyone else because it’s their specialty. TV is expensive and usually doesn’t provide a good return on investment but what if advertising did not limit you to one 30 second spot and what if your infomercial could run 24/7? This is what branded video marketing is doing for 21st Century marketers today. Today, YouTube has over 75 Million accessible videos with over 150,000 new videos being posted daily which makes YouTube bigger than a TV network. This is significant considering that out of the $198 billion spent online in 2008, only $4,300,000 was spent in advertisement on YouTube. By introducing infomercials, educational videos, client proof reviews, and reality videos into a marketing strategy, your message is available because you can be found through your video channel. Sending tweets and facebook alerts linked to video accelerates this online marketing system.

Let’s wrap it up by saying that Social Media is good advertisement: Good advertisement is putting your message in front of your ideal clients, where they are and when they are there. It is not waiting in hopes clients will watch a certain TV channel during a certain time of the day to see your 30 second spot. It isn’t hoping that your ideal client didn’t take a bathroom break during your commercial! It isn’t hoping they will pick you out of a dozen competitors in a phone book. Good advertising means being in complete control of where, when and to whom your message is going and of each dollar going into that campaign. It means getting data; even more data than you need, telling you what is working for you, what doesn’t work, and how to get better real time results. There are over 1.5 Billion people online now and since consumers are not spending money the same way, advertising in newspapers, magazines and television has become a waste of advertising dollars. In today’s economy, it is absolutely a must to know that you are reaching your niche market with a healthy return on your investment. Imagine that your advertising could be like a wonderful educational journey, where your customers learn about you and your business over time, all because they want to know about you. Imagine being where your customers are, when they are, and giving them what they want. Just imagine your advertising inspiring loyalty in your customers causing sales to grow exponentially. Now quit imagining and face the facts! This is a 21st Century marketing reality!